Guest Spot: A heroic effort followed Tuesday’s boat explosion in Greenport

In response to your informative article, “Violent boat explosion in Greenport injures two,” I propose a further article entitled: “Heroic Fiancée.”

The article about the terrible explosion and accident that Billy Gremler, or “Billy” of Billy’s By the Bay, and Lisa Schoenstein suffered Tuesday in Greenport missed some pertinent information. This is a true love and hero story.  This type of true heroism need not go unnoticed. 

This couple, after working an entire day, jumped on the boat to do some fishing and wound up in a terrible boat explosion that split their boat in two, sinking it. The powerful explosion landed Mr. Gremler in the water with severe injuries to his back and head.

Ms. Schoenstein was thrown against the bulkhead and landed in the water. She heard the screams of her fiancé and swam over to where Mr. Gremler was. She cradled his head to keep it out of the water and swam them both back to the dock ladder. She was assisted by a crew member at Safe Harbor Marina, who had jumped into a dinghy to help.  Ms Schoenstein, were she in the military, would merit a Medal of Honor. She unselfishly put aside her own injuries and they are numerous: broken clavicle, broken scapula, dislocated shoulder, broken wrist, three fractured ribs, burnt feet and hand, to respond to Mr. Gremler’s dilemma. Cognizant of her own injuries and still able to save another is the definition of a hero.   

That is the story that needs to be told.

Also, both the Gremler and Schoenstein families are proud of the response from our local towns. It was terrifying to be involved in the aftermath as we faced the helicopter rescues and the not knowing. Yet it was wonderful to see it all come together to save the famous, hardworking couple of the Restaurant Bar. We thank the many first responders at Gull Pond working on Mr. Gremler like the Greenport Fire Department, the East Marion Fire Department, Southold Police, EMTs and any first responders whom I might have missed who worked equally hard on Ms. Schoenstein. It was like watching a finely rehearsed movie in action. 

I would be remiss without mentioning the incredible crew and staff at Safe Harbor Marina for informing us, for reacting incredibly fast in an emergency, keeping their wits about them, knowing what to do and getting both boaters out of the water.  

And lastly thanks to Douglass Marine for their recovery efforts. We can’t do it without them. Good job everyone. We are grateful to them all!

The author lives in Greenport and is a relative of the Schoenstein family. She works for North Fork Welding.

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